Date finished: February 20, 2019

Rating: ★★★★

The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman

I love The Golden Compass film, but I had never actually read the series until now. I was worried the trilogy opener would be more intended for and captivating to young readers, but Pullman proves that childhood classics are gems even when revisited (or opened for the first time) as adults.

Lyra Belacqua is the perfect protagonist for elementary and middle grade readers. She’s curious, adventurous, and spunky, but also caring and kind. As the story begins, we’re thrust into Lyra’s world of sneaky adventures, shape-shifting dæmons, tricks, and playing.

After Lyra overhears a deadly secret and her friend Roger is kidnapped by the Gobblers (who have been preying on English children for months), she sets off on a journey that leads to new adventures, new friends (notably armored bear Iorek Byrnison and Texan aeronaut Lee Scoresby), and a new world.

Pullman’s characters are wonderful and memorable, and he paints the portrait of a world children have been eager to visit for over two decades. The Golden Compass offers both an enjoyable story and a valuable lesson for young readers about the value of curiosity, asking others for help, and being there for your friends when they need you. An exemplary fantasy read for kids and adults alike.

Photo courtesy @sapphicbookworm (Instagram)

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